Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Congrats Dr. Dawg

The Fourniers pay up, and his defamation case against various FreeD denizens slowly proceeds.  Mark Fournier says:

We are getting our ducks in a row and expect to have a stellar cast of experts lined up on court day.

Love to know who those people are.  The pool of folks who can argue the state of Internet defamation law in Canada is pretty small, and I'll just note that nobody on the Fournier's side has attempted to contact me in this regard.  Also, if you want to argue that the state of the law on-line is anarchy--which is what the Fournier's legal situation requires--how can you at the same time claim expertise on the topic?


Marky Mark said...

The Court of Appeal asked for guidance from experts, sepcifically with regard to how certain comments are understood. Without commenting on the merits of this specific case, I'd say that however it goes it will have far reaching cnosequences. I get the impression that you think this only applies to one side of the patisan divide but there's no way that is the case. Some teasers for you: is it defamatory to say someone is of the "Far Right" or supports "neo-Nazis?" When I defend Israel can I be called a supporter of "apartheid" or a "racist" If yes, why, and if not, why not?

Marky Mark said...

As a separate point, a couple of real experts were telling me this could develop into a much bigger legal area and that it isn't at all confined to the tort of defmation-e.g., breaches of an individual's right to privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distres being possible areas of civil law that will become relevant in addition to certian criminal law offences.

bigcitylib said...

If I've ever written that someone supported "neo-Nazis" then that's because it was literally true. I've also been threatened with defamation for stuff on this site and I've either defended it or, if I found I had written in something in error, corrected or removed it. Easy peasy.

Marky Mark said...

The C of A could easily have said that there is no reason to consider a distinction between defamation law as it has developed over the centuries and defamation law in the context of new media-for better or worse, they didn't say that. They framed the issue as one of context and, in particular, how a particular comment is likely to be understood. I don't think we'll end up with a "bright line" test meaning that, as with things like negligence, it will be up to courts to apply principles to specific fact situations.

I suspect that as with traditional law there will be a difference between "X is a member of the Nazi Party of Canada," "X has views that sound like those of the Nazis," "X funds the Nazis," "X is a Nazi," "X is like a Nazi" and "X is a supporter of the Nazis." Some of the above are factual statements which either are true or are not true. Others sound more like opinion. Some are mixed. Plus you have to all of that the circumstances in which the comment was made0i.e., is it a back and forth and what was it that the target of the comment said beforehand?

I don't think this is cut and dried easy stuff.

Holly Stick said...

I don't understand why they had to pay $14,000 now if they are going to a full trial. Is that the amount the apellate court found they must pay for libel, or expenses, or what?

Marky Mark said...

Holly, here is a link to the decision:

You'll see that the final paragraphs addressed the costs of the appeal

bigcitylib said...


It was payback for expenses Dawg incurred during the first go round (and money he had to pay the Fourniers when he lost that round) and expenses here.


They could still decide that things are status quo on-line. For the most part (ie Vigna vs. Levant, CC vs. whatshisname) that's how CDN courts appear to have dealt with Internet defamation. If I were to bet, I'd say that's what they will do this time.

liberal supporter said...

I think cases such as this are effective at shutting up bullies and trolls who are so full of themselves they don't know enough to do the easy kinds of mitigation that are available.

Me: Marky Mark is a nazi.
MM: No, I'm not.
Me: I stand corrected. Please accept my apologies. But you're still a dick.
MM: fuck off LS.

Case closed. i.e. there is no case.

Holly Stick said...

Thanks for the link, Marky.

Holly Stick said...

Ain't that cute; they're jumping up and down and shaking their tiny fists over at FD. And BCL, they are threatening to use all the screenshots they've kept of things said on your blog.

Lemme know if you get sued and I'll provide some moral support (since I have more morals than money).

Marky Mark said...

We had a pretty expansive discussion here including the main players:

Anonymous said...

As long as you're always right you shouldn't run into any problems.